Business profile - 205 On Ashley, Hale

Interior of 205

Interior of 205 - Credit: Archant

Karen Flavell is the proud owner of 205 On Ashley, a fashion boutique in Hale that many readers will have been familiar with for over 25 years, under its previous guise as Vicki Allen.

Karen Flavell

Karen Flavell - Credit: Archant

I bought the business from Vicki at the start of 2016,’ Karen says, ‘and took all of last year to learn about the brands, the customers and indeed the fashion retail business, as this wasn’t my background. With Janet and Sandra, who stayed on with me after Vicki retired, we asked customers what they loved about the shop, what they would like to see more of and what didn’t work for them. I finally felt ready to put all my new knowledge into action and upgrade the business, give it my own personal touch and bring it forward into a ‘new and improved’ version of the shop that has graced Ashley Road for over a quarter of a century.’

Karen closed the shop on 18 February and spent the last ten days of the month completing an intensive refurb of the store, updating the layout, brightening the interior, opening up the widows and adding some of her own, inimitable sparkle.

‘I have a very clear philosophy in life,’ she says. ‘Age is simply a number; no woman hits 40, or 50 or even 60 and suddenly has an irrational desire to change the way she presents herself according to some outdated, ridiculous notion of how women ‘of a certain age’ should dress or behave. Not one of my wonderful customers has ever walked in and asked for the fuddy duddy collection. All our customers want and expect stylish, classic fashions that reflect their attitude to life: look great, feel great and spread some sparkle!

Every brand we stock here meets this demand, from the ever-fabulous Joseph Ribkoff to eternally popular Frank Lyman, Monari, LauRie, Michèle and the universally adored Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. This season I have introduced Crea Concept to Hale too, which has attracted a lot of attention already. I have sourced more new brands that meet the demands of my customers, which I shall be introducing as the year progresses, including one I am particularly excited about, which is designed specifically for the larger lady and cut to fit and flatter, not simply be a larger size of a design based around the perfect size ten, which is how many brands operate.’

Exterior of 205

Exterior of 205 - Credit: Archant

Karen positively fizzes with energy and determination and hasn’t been satisfied with a simple rebrand and refurb of her business.

‘I am moving into e-commerce,’ she says. ‘The current website acts like a shop window for my collections, but will soon also allow people to order online too. At the moment people can call the shop and we will post or personally deliver items the same day, however doing everything via the website will open up our offering even further.’

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It’s exciting times for the team at 205 On Ashley and with Karen at the helm, the business can only go from strength to strength.

Karen Flavell

Karen Flavell - Credit: Archant

205 On Ashley

Ashley Road, Hale | 0161 941 1627 | @205OnAshley

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